Ready for new role with rural support trust

Cathie Cotter, of Dacre, is the new Southland Rural Support Trust chairwoman. She is also the...
Cathie Cotter, of Dacre, is the new Southland Rural Support Trust chairwoman. She is also the Cancer Society's support care officer for Eastern Southland. Photo: Southland Express
Cathie Cotter, of Dacre, has been elected chairwoman of the Southland Rural Support Trust (SRST) board.

A trust member for six years, Mrs Cotter was named in the position on May 14, replacing John Kennedy, of Oreti, who remains on the board.

''I was approached by John and others on the board who thought I would be the right person for the job,'' Mrs Cotter said.

''I had been on small committees like school boards before, and am passionate about dairy farming and welfare.''

She and husband Phillip are former sharemilkers and now run dry stock and operate a rock quarry on their farm at Dacre.

She paid tribute to both co-ordinator Lyndsay Wright and Mr Kennedy, who had both devoted many hours working with farmers and agencies as they dealt with the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak and other adverse events.

''Lindsay kept us on the straight and narrow.

''John had done a huge amount of work around M. bovis, and is really giving of his time, especially as there was so much unknown last year.''

The trust members have seen the impacts adverse events such as heavy snow and the Bonamia ostreae virus outbreak, which devastated Stewart Island commercial oyster farms, have on farmers and aquaculturists.

They also were heavily involved with supporting and assisting farmers facing the implications, frustrations and stresses associated with Mycoplasma bovis.

''We did what we could and we have come a long way.''

Mrs Cotter was also the Dairy Women's Network's South Island regional manager for more than five years, providing leadership and support to members and branches.

''I covered all the South Island from Invercargill and that was a fantastic role.

''I thought, after five and a-half years, they were probably ready for a fresh face.''

She then helped manage the family's quarry business but said she missed the people contact.

''I had always been in a supportive role.''

She is a registered nurse and is now working as a support care officer for the Cancer Society, providing coverage for Eastern Southland.

''My nursing background allows me to be able to support people and work through the health system, and help them with the really tough questions they ask when they are going through that cancer journey.

''I have also been trained to fit prosthetics, such as special bras for women who have had mastectomies.

''I see women who come in and who are hunched over.

''There are some amazing breast forms available and they go out with their shoulders back and a smile on their faces, ready to face the world again.

''It is incredibly satisfying to make a difference in their lives.''

Last week, she was involved with the meetings with mental wellness speaker Lance Burdett, who attracted big crowds in Gore and Winton.

''. . . we run four meetings a year with stakeholders and provide support with what is happening within the industry.

''We are here to support all our farmers in Southland if there are new needs.''

-Southland Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254

Add a Comment